I dont know why I have been so absent from my dear blogging world. Well, wait, actually I do. Training picked up full swing right after Thanksgiving finished. I managed to get my USAT Coaching Certification in between, get hired as an OutRival Racing coach, throw in some Good Runs, Long bikes, and even more swimming, swimming, swimming. Then came Christmas, family, Dieting, sleep, finalizing sponsorships, getting sick and moving yet again. Throw in a butt-kicking training camp in Austin, and your left with one tired puppy.
[caption id="attachment_3699" align="aligncenter" width="682"] Having fun with elite athletes at camp![/caption]
[caption id="attachment_3700" align="aligncenter" width="458"] Me and my best friend on a holiday training run.[/caption]
Now, its January 14th and I am finally getting around to the beginning of my season. I have been very busy, but very focused. I am seeing results from all around:
1) Dieting- Not necessarily trying to loose weight, but just become as healthy as possible. Drop some body fat, and get some healthy lean meat on my body. A healthy body is a happy one.
2) Swimming faster. Long sets. Speed sets. The hard work is paying off. Big Thanks to Tim, my swim coach for putting up with my crazy arm motions!
3) Long Rides. Keeping my knees fresh and legs rolling.
4) Holidays at home always call for good runs in the cold.
The last two, however were the two that I was kind of less confident about. I focus so much on my swimming workouts lately, I feel I dont have time or energy to give to my running and biking. This weekend, I found it was clear that the month of December did however pay off.
Yesterday, I participated in the 2013 Chevron Houston Marathon.
One of the biggest races in the nation, and a fairly fast course, I wanted in on this event. I was super lucky and blessed to be given an opportunity to race this year as a charity slot for the C-different foundation. For those of you who dont know, C-different is a non-profit organization that helps blind athletes participate in the sports we love. Running races; triathlons; even X-terra races: You name it and C-different will help all blind athletes find a guide of their ability. It is really an amazing organization and two of the founding leaders, David Adame and Matt Miller are two men who will literally put their heart and sole into everything with these athletes.
I got to attend the C-different luncheon on Saturday before the race and listen to the stories of the several athletes that were competing in this weekends race. They were so inspiring and I knew going into this race that at any point if I felt pain, I would think about about these athletes and the fact that they were out there with me doing it.
Being that its a new year, my debut Pro year, and in general as athletes we are always setting goals, I went into this race with a goal of wanting to run a 1:25 half-marathon (or even break 1:25 if I can). I knew that this would call for an average 6:30 pace, and that the conditions of the race (whether Houston decided to be 80 degrees or 40 degrees) was going to play a huge role in this. Lately in training, I was struggling to run paces of that speed for more than 4 miles. However, I knew that racing brings adrenaline, and a time to test your body. I had to atleast try to run that pace, and to NOT give up just because I couldnt.
The morning of the race a cold front was blowing through lovely Houston. 20-40 mph winds and of course, a down pour of rain/hail/or something that hurt my face began at the start. The gun went off and off we went into the blinding monsoon of rain and wind. I thought to myself, "Well atleast I am not running the marathon". Mile 1 came by at 6:25 pace, and mile 2 the same. Perfect. My legs felt good and I never even thought about pulling out, other than that the weather sucked. But everyone else was dealing with it too! I came through the first 5k a TAD slower than I needed (6:31 pace vs 6:30) but I figured, hey thats not too shabby. I kept on running and before I knew it I was running through the 10k, then the 15k, and then the 20k. This was seriously the fastest race ever! I dont know if its my experience with the distance that helped me pace myself so well, or if it was just that I was extremely focused and I knew there was no way I was going to let my mind make me break, but the race went by so quickly!
There was about 2 miles of the race when the sky opened up again and we had to run straight into a wind tunnel from mile 9-11. It was tough and my pace dropped off about ~20 seconds per mile. However, I didnt let it get to me and just thought about no matter what my time was, it was going to be a PR.
I pulled into the finishing shoot with a 1:25:46. Frozen, raw, legs cramping. I was glad to be done! I didnt break 1:25, but I proved to myself that my fitness is increasing and that I need to stay positive about my training and just BELIEVE. My paces are actually pretty unbelieveable. I ran the same pace for the first two, 5ks. ha
I told my coach I think I could have ran that pace for a marathon...I just CANT go any FASTER. Yes, I am an endurance athlete. #slowtwitchfibersBig things are going to happen this year and I am so glad that I have amazing people in my life to share it with. Congrats to all the runners out there. Braving those conditions and setting huge PRs all across the board. It takes big guts to stay out there and keep doing what you are doing, but we all did it together and 2013 is going to bring great things!